Election tribunal warns parties’ supporters over conduct
CHAIRMAN of the National and State House of Assembly Election Tribunal sitting in Calabar, Cross River State, Justice Christopher Awubra, has expressed dismay at the conduct of parties’ supporters during proceedings, especially a scenario where party loyalists were seated while lawyers remained standing due to lack of space.
He, therefore, warned them against indecorous acts so the panel could dispense justice devoid of delay and distraction.
Awubra, who was reacting to the unfortunate situation where a clerk of the tribunal had to deploy some anti-riot policemen to unseat supporters for counsel, had to order, “all those who are seated and are not lawyers should stand up and vacate their chairs for lawyers”, threatening to adjourn if the instruction was unheeded.
“I have never seen where clients disrespect counsel, from today, I order: Unless all lawyers are seated, nobody should be allowed into the court, security and officials please take note, ” the presiding chairman stated.
A counsel, Paul Erokoro (SAN), had while expressing discontent at the development, asked the tribunal to rein the excesses of the party supporters.
Awubra added: “The lawyers have to be conveniently seated in order to concentrate in advocating the pending issues as appropriate,” stressing that the crowd was not relevant but the outcome which their principals were expecting.
He, therefore, implored the teeming supporters to exhibit self- control and decorum so that the tribunal could discharge its functions as mandated.
However, some journalists covering the proceeding were bewildered by the sweeping orders of the Chairman.
But the Registrar of the Tribunal, John Tsok, allayed the fears, promising that the chamber would be re-arranged to accommodate all stakeholders.
The cases that came up on the fateful day were those involving Prince Bassey Otu and Senator Gershom Bassey for Southern Senatorial District and others, Dominic Aqua Edem against Essien Ayi and others for the Bakassi/Calabar South/Akpabuyo Federal Constituency as well as Dr. Alex Egbona against Bassey Ewa for the Abi and Yakurr Federal Constituency.
Also on the list was that of Dr. Sandy Onor against Senator John Owan Enoh and others for the Central Senatorial District.
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